Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum has received plenty of praise over the past two days. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg tweeted out a quote from an Instagram video Paul Pierce recorded about the Celtics’ first-round pick.
Paul Pierce during his Instagram live session on the common today: “That Tatum kid, he’s going to be real. … I like that kid.” pic.twitter.com/fWUKkeELPo— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) July 18, 2017
Tatum played in six summer games combined in the Utah and Las Vegas leagues. In 32.5 minutes per game, he averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 44.5 percent from the field. Tatum earned All-Summer League Second Team for his play in Vegas and earned the praise from a Celtics legend.
Bovada also released their updated Rookie of the Year odds following summer league play. Tatum has the fourth-best chance according to them to win the award, and he finds himself ahead of first overall pick in 2017 Markelle Fultz, while behind Lonzo Ball (second overall 2017, Lakers), Dennis Smith Jr. (ninth overall 2017, Mavericks) and Ben Simmons (first overall, 2016).
The Celtics traded the first pick in the draft in order to select Tatum third instead of Fultz, so the betting favoritism is an interesting development following the first time we have seen the two players in action.
Fultz will certainly have the better opportunity to win the award over Tatum. Boston has a slew of wings like Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown ahead of the rookie first-rounder, so it will be difficult for Tatum to get consistent playing time in his first season. However, after six games of oddly high-profile Summer League competition, the league and its fans have taken notice of Tatum’s remarkable talent and polish. His first season in the NBA will certainly have the attention of more than just Celtics faithful.